Manufacturers

Track viscose manufacturers’ progress in the transition to closed-loop production.

With careful chemical management, viscose can be produced in a responsible way through a closed-loop system, whereby chemicals are captured and reused instead of being released into the environment. However, many manufacturers are yet to adopt best practices.

Our Roadmap identifies the emissions standards for viscose set out in the European Union’s Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document (or BREF) on polymers1 as the most comprehensive and ambitious standard. The BREF is the result of an exchange of information, carried out from 2003–05, between EU Member States, the EU viscose industry and NGOs. It is based on operating data that EU industry players supplied at the time, meaning the values and techniques set out in the BREF reflect what the best performers in the industry were already achieving over a decade ago.

The document sets limits on chemicals usually discharged from the viscose staple fibre manufacturing process and addresses pollution to both air and water.

Table 1: EU BAT emissions standards for viscose staple fibre production

While the EU BAT does not set best practice for viscose filament yarn production, the BREF document provides emission and consumption data for viscose filament yarn production from the European Man-made Fibres Association (CIRFS), which can be used as a good reference/indication of best practice.

Table 2: Emissions and consumption data for viscose filament yarn production

The table below examines commitments and actions implemented by the world’s leading viscose manufacturers in the transition to responsible viscose – specifically, Lenzing AG, the Aditya Birla Group (ABG), members of the Chinese Collaboration for Sustainable Development of Viscose (CV initiative)2 and ENKA.

For more specific information about manufacturers’ commitments and actions, please see our report.

Viscose fibre manufacturer Commitment to EU BAT Production sites operating in line with EU BAT Investment towards closed-loop technology Transparent reporting on progress towards meeting EU BAT parameters
Lenzing AG

The company requires all sites to comply with the Group Environmental Standard, which is aligned with EU BAT, by 2022.

Production sites in Lenzing, Austria and Nanjing, China, already meet EU BAT.

Lenzing intends to invest over €100 million in ‘sustainable production technologies’ by 2022.3

Limited public disclosure, including information on reduction of certain emissions within a set timeframe on a group/facility level; no systematic reporting of progress made by all facilities in relation to EU BAT parameters.

Aditya Birla Group (ABG)

ABG aims to achieve EU BAT norms at all its sites by 2022.4

Birla Jingwei Fibres Company Limited (BJFCL) in China is already compliant with EU BAT.

ABG has committed $170 million (approximately €146 million) of investment to progressing towards EU BAT technologies at all seven of its existing viscose fibre production plants, which are located in India, Indonesia, China and Thailand.

Limited public disclosure, including information on reduction of certain emissions within a set timeframe on a group/facility level; no systematic reporting of progress made by all facilities in relation to EU BAT parameters.

ENKA

n/a5

However, in exchanges with the Changing Markets Foundation, ENKA declared its commitment to closed-loop production of viscose.

n/a
ENKA’s site in Germany operates in line with emission and consumption values set out in the BREF document.

n/a

ENKA publicly discloses on its website how its emission and consumption levels compare with the values set out in the BREF document.6

Chinese CV initiative

No clear commitment to EU BAT. The current CV Roadmap lacks ambition and does not commit its members to best practice.

No information.

No information.

No information.

Footnotes

1European Commission (2007) Reference Document on Best Available Techniques in the Production of Polymers. [ONLINE] Available at: https://eippcb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/sites/default/files/2019-11/pol_bref_0807.pdf.

2CV initiative brings together ten leading Chinese viscose producers, along with two trade associations: China Chemical Fibres Association, China Cotton Textile Association, CHTC Helon, Funing Aoyang, Jilin Chemical Fibre, Sateri, Shandong Yamei, Shandong Yinying (Silver Hawk), Tangshan Sanyou, Xinxiang Baliu Chemical Fibre, Yibin Grace and Zhejiang Fulida.

3Lenzing (2018) Partner for change: Lenzing Group sustainability report 2018. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.lenzing.com/index.php?type=88245&tx_filedownloads_file%5bfileName%5d=fileadmin/content/PDF/04_Nachhaltigkeit/Nachhaltigkeitsberichte/EN/NHB_2018_EN.pdf.

4Aditya Birla Group, Sustainability Report 2019 – Pulp and fibre Business [ONLINE] Avaialbale at: https://www.grasim.com/Upload/PDF/birla-cellulose-sustainability-report-2019.pdf.

5ENKA is a viscose filament yarn manufacturer, therefore the limits set by the EU BAT are not applicable.

6ENKA (n.d.) Consumption and emission data. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.enka.de/nachhaltigkeit_7_en.php.

Brands and producers:

Roadmap

Take a look at our roadmap towards responsible viscose for information on how you can move towards a closed loop system, too.

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Consumers:

Take Action

Sign our petition or tweet your favourite retailer today to help us spread the word about viscose.

Brand categorisation

See which brands are leading the transition to responsible viscose and which are lagging behind.

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Resources

We’ve made it easy for you to brush up on the need for responsible viscose by compiling our latest reports on the issue, here.

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